Rattlesnakes and rat snakes invade local neighborhoods

July 16, 2014

Two kinds of snakes, similar in size and actions, are on the crawl in southwest Travis County, and have some residents confused about which is friend and which is foe.

The diamondback rattlesnake is a menace whose bite can cause illness or even death. The rat snake, similar in color, size and certain mannerisms, will bite when cornered, but its bite is not poisonous.

Residents have noticed an increase in snake encounters, finding them on their yards, in their gardens, under their hedges and even in their garages. The reason for the increased activity this time of year is twofold, said Andy Gluesenkamp, herpetologist with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. Snakes are more active in the spring and early summer when they are seeking mates and new sources of food and water. And humans are more active as they weed their gardens and pick up debris.

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